Published on May 19th, 2017 | by Dean Love0
Escapologic, Nottingham – Heistakes
I’ve broken into a lot of bank vaults. As an escape room enthusiast, it’s just something you do. You often find yourself in a room that’s apparently a bank vault (but looks a bit like an office) and eventually puzzle your way into the money and then put a code in a door to escape. I say all this, because Heistakes is a heist themed game. It’s not a bank vault themed game (despite featuring an actual old bank vault within it). See: while I’ve broken into many vaults before, I’d never pulled off a heist until I played this game.
The set-up is that some other criminals have tried to break into the vault and failed: you need to find out what happened to them and finish the job. Your first task: to break into the vault. That’s right: you don’t start in the vault with a mission to escape, rather you start outside the vault with the first order of business being to break in. I won’t spoil the setting for this bit, suffice to say it creates the feeling of arriving at the start of a job really well.
This part of the game is a fairly swift one, and once you’re in the vault you’re then stuck there until you find a way back out. The vault itself is a huge contrast to what’s come before (both in the previous part of the game and other Escapologic rooms) in that it’s very high-tech looking, all clean surfaces, smooth lines and so forth. It’s at this point that Heistakes seems to become something more traditional: bypass the security systems, crack the safe, etc. There’s a computer terminal that’s been taken over by a friendly hacker which is used to feed you clues (and again, very much feels on theme) and there are a crap-ton of safety deposit boxes unlocked by trying random keys on them which is fine but sort of felt a bit beneath this game (there were markings on them which helped us figure out which ones opened, but we never found a link between the key and box).
Some solid puzzling, cool effects, and a bit of story progression later and you’re out of the vault in what might feel a surprisingly fast amount of time. And that’s because, well, you’re far from done. You’ve entered the game’s third and final act, which happens to be in the same setting as the first – except now there’s a lot more to be done! The way the space is re-used is so clever and the finale is an awesome moment that demands a lot of careful teamwork under a tense time pressure (and for once, this Escapologic room does feature countdown clocks in most parts). It’s one of those tasks that feels almost impossible at first but you keep at it enough and get the hang of things and (hopefully) make it through.
By the end of the game we really felt like we’d been on a heist. That feeling is accomplished by having a really good bank vault section that isn’t the be-all and end-all of the game, but just part of the heist itself.
Result – we escaped in around 55 minutes
Date played: 30 Apr 2017
Team: Dean, Katherine, Jess, Alex
Summary: Not just a bank vault game, this is a genuine cinematic heist experience and highly recommended.